Ethan Z. (Alumni-V)'s Journal

This has become a Microcampus tradition now... No, it is not. It is just a quirky idea to Clark came up with and we sort of jumped on the bandwagon.

You see, Clark W. had the insight to bring his Kumon to Microcampus, and Sam B. decided now was high time to start learning some Kumon. So Clark started teaching Sam some Kumon, and soon Sunny and Austin had joined.

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You know those youtube channels and the blogs, where there is a list of acknowledgments that really touch you. If you bothered to read the behind the last pages of some thrilling novel, there is always a heartfelt and emotional thanks for everyone who supported him or her in his or her journey.

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Firstly, a note about my genealogy. My grandparents from my father's side were from Shandong and Liaoning, but mostly lived in Heilongjiang, shown on the map. My grandparents from my mother's side were from Luoyang, which is right underneath the Yellow river. Many people tell me that I have a Dongbei accent, which is shown in my slightly heavy pronunciation and the catchphrase "zala?", which roughly translates into "What?". 

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After getting my hands back on the violin again, I began to realize everything that I was missing out on.

Firstly, I realized my violin skills were taking a dive. Paganini's Caprice #24, which I had begun to work on before my violin back split in half (Do not ask), was abysmal. The theme already sounded awry, with my fingering too high. The variations sounded even worse, as my usually smooth fingering turned into a frantic shuffle. My Intro and Rondo Capriccioso was even worse, with Camille Saint-Saens probably rolling in his grave...

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Today the whole group payed a visit to Dali Old Town, and I do not hesitate to say I love Dali Old Town. I love how they preserved the old buildings but allowed new businesses to open up. I love how they cater to both foreigners and locals alike, and I love how they have opened up the place to tourists. In stark contrast to Xizhou, Dali Old Town has been completely and utterly cashing in on tourists. Filling the wide boulevards of pedestrian streets are tourists and locals alike, coexisting in a strange tourism hub. 

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For my Inquiry Project today, I visited the tourism center for a radical Inquiry Project phase. Instead of talking to locals, I decided to up the ante and visit the tourism center, and talk to the professionals. Their job was to help tourists and provide insight about tourism, so I figured they would know more than the layman. I think that this is an unheard-of activity in Microcampus, and I was seriously concerned I would get thrown out. As it turned out, the guy was really nice.

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At one point in imperial Britain, the British household spent 5% of their income on TEA.

I have always wondered why: what was so good about tea? Although tea had a rather interesting flavor, it was bitter and bland. Why does the average British household not spend 5% of their income on fruit juice? Or soup? Now that I have drank some tea myself, here is my answer. There is nothing very great about tea, but it was better than water.

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I was playing a good friend of mine on chess.com, and he also happened to be one of my students when I ran my chess exploratory. Even though he was a good player, he has never came close to winning a game, and has never managed to hold a draw against me. So you can imagine my surprise when he played my opening, which I have never taught him, perfectly. His moves were uncharacteristically aggressive, and lacked his usual tunnel-vision.

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After the hike, I decided to go to bed extra early so I could get in some sleep. I do not hesitate to say that I regret it.

8:30 I lay down in bed and listened to the sounds. There were people talking, people walking, cars honking, and at one point a full display of fireworks. Occasionally a beam of light would pierce at the inner layer of my tent, and I bit back a snarky retort.

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With too much time to spare, Austin Z. and I found ourselves back at Pessoa Coffee, for the 4th time.

Mr. Chen has tipped both of us off on Pessoa's secret menu, which consisted of one item, the Pink Drink. So we decided to try it.

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When we would a new abode,
Space, our tyrant King no more,
Lays the long lance of the road,
At our feet and flees before,
Breathless, ere we overwhelm,
To submit a further realm!

Rudyard Kipling, A Song of Travel

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Xizhou is known for its dry climate, but today it rained.

The miserable rain thoroughly reflected my mood. I had had a nightmare, and found tears streaming down my face as I woke up. The rain splattered on the cold marble, giving everything a dull glow that only seemed to reflect meanness. Algal growth poked out of the slippery floor, like so many petulant children. The thunder crackled and boomed, confining us to under the sloped roof, with its tiles given a new chroma gray.

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During down time, I decided to spend some time reading the news. 

It turns out I have missed out on a lot. Stephen Hawking died, A bridge in Florida collapses, and Putin has managed to get into a fight with Theresa May. This is only the tip of the technology iceberg.

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I remember yesterday I was strolling around Yangzhuoran, and I saw Clark reading about the Tea Horse Road. Casually, I proposed that he visit the museum, which was home to a lot of good information. He replied: "Oh, yeah. I was going to visit tomorrow". Casually chitchatting, I asked him what he did that day. He told me he had visited Mr. Du, an antique collector who was also one of my contacts. Out of curiosity, I asked for directions on where to find him.

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Today my twin and I took a moment to really reflect on how Xizhou has changed since tourism has brought in massive amounts of revenue. Here is a transcript on the debate we had over the positives of leaving a village as it is, and the positives of industrializing that village. Let's welcom my brother Evan, who is going to debate against me (Ethan) to show the conflicting points of view on this topic.

Let it be resolved that industrialization is more beneficial for local villages.

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This was probably one of the most hilarious events since. Our committee, the evening activities committee, set out for the Linden Centre to find some... movies. First our group of four were postponed, delayed, and suspended. Then, as we finally made our way to the Linden Centre, we were ushered upstairs into a TV room. The decor in the TV room and the neighboring library was hilarious. A huge bust of Mao Zedong sat on the counter, with the red words "Long Live Chairman Mao" stenciled in the bottom.

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Today, I took a moment to appreciate the food that was unique to Xizhou. I became a gourmet (or a foodie, if you are so hypocritical).

Microcampus Resolution Number 1: Eat healthy

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I will skip the tearful goodbyes, the uneventful plane ride, and the instructions. That is not what you are here for. 

What you are here for is the gist of the majestic scenery, the bloopers and blunders of our beloved friends, and my thoughts, which I can guarantee will be awesome.

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While I was browsing the Shenzhen library, I happened to come across this book, shown in the picture. So I read it, and found it to be fascinating. The book is a compilation of articles that were set in Dali, and detailed their lives and their interactions with the local culture. For example, the second article was about a special dish that roughly translates to spiced and spicy chicken. If you are proficient in Chinese, you might consider reading it.

Some thoughts

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The Logistics of Microcampus

Blog Post IV

I'm going to be completely honest with you. I am actually very wary of everything that might go wrong in Microcampus. I honestly think that maybe these students are not really prepared to go alone to Yunnan.

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About Me

Blog Post II

A little something about me: I am politically incorrect (Texas and Arizona should be part of Mexico), unorthodox (Kim Jong Un is pretty smart), and fun (I'm a big fan of pranks). I am very outspoken and original, so don't expect these blog posts to be normal or boring. If you're on the lookout for normal and boring blogs, just check out the blogs of just about everyone here. :P So hopefully this blog would be fun, politically incorrect, and unorthodox. Peace out!

 

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Looking Ahead to Microcampus

Blog Post I

Still getting over the happy surprise of getting into Microcampus, I'm starting to get worried. I haven't packed, I haven't planned, and I haven't even done my homework! As the looming Mr. T approaches me in the hallways, I feel a growing sense of dread well up inside me, like a hideous, sable, tide. As I try to make myself as small as possible, the unthinkable happened. With a baritone voice, he boomed my name: "Ethan Z!"

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“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." Over the course of Microcampus, I have experienced the individual freedom that I have been grappling with ever since I have left Shanghai. Who am I? Why am I here? My Microcampus-era posts and thoughts would go to reveal my struggle against who I am, a struggle you will soon face in Microcampus. And now that I am back, I may have but a fragment of my answer.